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MINDSETTER™ Kennedy: When Mainstream Media Fails; Cable Access TV Delivers

Wednesday, June 29, 2016


The longstanding issue with mainstream media is that the average viewer has little or no power in what stories are developed or shared with the public.

Those decisions are left to the bigwigs in programming at the larger media outlets and the public is often left to accept the one sided liberal or conservative media slant they are fed. Those powerful entities generally don't focus on diverse social or political issues that might be of interest to the community. Rather, they offer the usual content; the news stories detailing the latest mass shooting, or local political scandal involving an inappropriate sexual relationship, banking or business scandal involving stolen funds and the usual circus of dumb criminals getting caught stealing deck planters, someone¹s mail or the occasional homicide after a messy divorce.

Public Access TV

With public access TV however, a vital connection is forged that helps create a sense of community engagement and community identity. You can really get to know the values and the flavor of your city by watching Community TV. Programming can range from shows that take on the music scene, to videos of city council meetings, and talk shows that take on culture, art and the local political scene. Way back in 1971, documentary filmmaker George Stoney, (1916-2012) who is affectionately known as the "father of public access" founded the Alternate Media Center in New York. Stoney became known as the first pioneer of cable access TV and a man who was dedicated to championing the reach and scope of community communications, through cable access TV.

In Portland, we have our own rich community TV scene, with Portland Community Media, formerly known as Portland Cable Access. PCM is located at 2766 NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, (503) 288-1515, and provides a whole bevy of shows to choose from, along with offering low cost classes for adults and teens that offer instruction in field production, animation, film making, and even HD studio production.

Despite public access centers facing nationwide budget cuts and contending with the challenging problem of phone and cable companies pushing for laws that absolve them of their public interest obligations, the cable access community in Portland and elsewhere continues to thrive. PCM provides a much needed platform for civic discussion and debate and all those involved, including the volunteers who make that engagement possible.

Oregon Voter's Digest

One cable access program sponsored by PCM of particular interest is Oregon Voter's Digest, which is a talk show filmed each week at PMC studios. 

Oregon Voter's Digest, was originally a print newspaper, and was first founded around the turn of the century. It was purchased by community leader, Bruce Broussard in 1983. It was then a print publication and he bought the paper from the man who had hired him as an assistant editor, C.R. "Bob" Hilliyer, the previous owner and editor.  As Broussard had earned publishing credentials as the owner and editor of the Portland Observer, a newspaper dedicated to social, political and economic issues impacting the African American community in Portland, his purchase of the digest was timely and advantageous, for all members of the Portland community. Eventually, Oregon Voter¹s Digest became a talk show and for nearly twenty years, Bruce Broussard has been hosting the show.

At the time of the 1983 purchase, then Governor Vic Atiyeh congratulated Broussard by sending him a letter which read, in part, "I am sure that under your direction, The Digest will continue to grow and improve." Also in 1983, Broussard gifted the Oregon Historical Society with a large collection of previous printed Oregon Voter's Digest print copies, going all the way back to 1915. Then director of the OHS, Thomas Vaughn stated, "This gift adds an extra dimension to the archives of Oregon's political history."

From Broussard's earliest time as a public figure and hardworking Portland businessman, he has maintained an active interest and commitment to community service, which includes participation on numerous public service sector boards, and in the following philanthropic and socially engaged groups such as: the United Way, the Boys and Girls Club, McCoy academy Board Chair, Martin Luther King Scholarship fund, Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Urban League, Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association, the Buffalo Soldiers, the Kiwanis, the City Club of Portland and the NAACP.

Broussard's weekly community access program, focuses on political and social issues that Portlanders find important, a perspective that is not included in mainstream media outlets. Broussard is dedicated to staying involved in his community and in helping viewers and participants moving toward an agenda of consensus regarding the important social and political issues facing Portland and the state of Oregon.

Broussard's focus of bringing Portland's African American, Asian, and Hispanic and Latino communities more into the center of the political mix in Portland continues to underscore the need for a larger, more diverse audience for Portland Community Media that embraces all ethnic groups. His focus on those overlooked populations also demonstrate why Oregon Voter's Digest is such an important part of Portland identity, regularly disseminating the culture, arts, literary and political scene for the enjoyment and education of the viewing public.

Coming to Oregon Voter's Digest

Notable guests on the televised Oregon Voter's Digest include, Norma Paulous, Governor Vic Atiyeh, Earl Blumenthal, Art Robinson and of course our current Portland Mayor Charlie Hales, (when he was running for Mayor against Jefferson Smith).

Other notable guests include Fred Stewart, political insider and former candidate for city council, along with popular short story author Margaret Malone and Lanita Duke, also a former candidate for city council, and from the well-known Duke family of Portland. Also featured has been local activist Teressa Raiford of the Black Lives Matter movement. The program is shown on channel 11, and is regularly uploaded to You-tube. You can "subscribe" with the Oregon Voter's Digest, program on You-tube, which will enable you to be notified via email about the next show and when it's available for viewing. You'll gain access to the issues, the colorful persons and the important organizations that are generally ignored by mainstream media.

Upcoming issues will include the desperate need for housing for Portland's struggling low income folks, issues pertaining to homelessness, and of particular interest, the plight of homeless veterans. There will also be interviews of upcoming authors, artists, and those working in the caring profession, along with the current political scene playing out at City Hall.

For interesting programs that take on all kinds of socially pertinent issues and timely political concerns and debates, tune into Oregon Voter's Digest, on channel 11, and at You-tube, and stay informed!


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